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AVCHD Format Discussion
Inexpensive High Definition H.264 encoding to DVD, Hard Disc or SD Card.


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Old March 1st, 2009, 08:51 PM   #1
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Adequate Editing + Mobility

Hello everyone - This site has provided me a significant amount of insight and thank you to everyone who takes the time to educate. My question revolves around finding a new editing machine that fits my need for mobility.

I've searched the site for hours, and this topic has been touched on, but not to the level that I need to help my decision making process. Here's my situation:

I'm a relative novice in the video world. I'm not a pro, not trying to meet commercial deadlines, etc. I enjoy making fishing and family videos and have been doing so for the past two years with the most basic technology; a PS Olympus and a non-HD helmet cam with a 3 year old HP desktop purchased long before I ever thought I would be editing video.

Here's an example of the output: YouTube - Topwater Fly (turn it up!)

I haven't produced anything longer than 10minutes and you can see the quality is pretty poor, but the addictive nature of this process led me to purchase a Sony SR11 as an entry into capturing these scenes in better quality and the desire to view the projects in the highest quality.

My catch is that I need mobility, but still need an adequate machine and workflow method for editing the AVCHD files coming from the SR11. I won't need the machine until fall of 2009, so I'm assuming there will be some advancements in the meantime.

The issue that's driving me crazy is that as I read more and more, the tendency is to want the very fastest processor, the most memory, etc. i7, etc, etc, but I'm also a realist...I'm coming from a machine that takes hours to render 10 minutes of Quicktime clips into a Youtube type format, however I do a lot of work on the clips with color correction, etc.

The basic question is: What requirements would work for creating a decent, mobile AVCHD editing machine for final output in various formats, but ultimately to Blueray. Please recommend the basic requirement for a mobile machine and workflow, tell me "i can't get there from here" or some variant thereof, but any specific insight into what I need to create a mobile AVCHD workflow would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Peter Laurelli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 2nd, 2009, 01:42 PM   #2
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Hi Peter...

Output to BluRay in what timeframe? BIG leap there.

Even shooting the SR11 in SD mode or downconverting the clips to SD (with the included PMB software) after import will give you decent results and editable video source that should edit on any laptop you could buy today.

Here's the problem with editing "native" AVCHD - it's highly compressed, so the processor workload is relatively high for each frame over any other format - lots and lots of number crunching, meaning fast quad cores for "acceptable" performance. Transcoding to a less compreseed or uncompressed format is an option, but is a resource and time hog too.

So that's TODAY...

This isn't to say that in a few months the software might not improve substantially, it did with HDV, going from barely usable to smooth, as the format and editing it matured. I don't think editing AVCHD has yet been optimized, and there's room to improve, at least I hope so.

I don't know if you need a laptop form factor, or if a small form factor computer is an option. Yes, an i7 quad is looking like the absolute best bet for video editing right now (I'm running a Q6600, but hoping to budget a i7 920 somehow...), dont think you can find that CPU in a mobile form YET, but maybe by Q3/4 2009.

Depending on your workflow, it's possible that you could downconvert your files in the field for editing while the video is fresh, then take the edited cuts into zippy desktop when you get back home, and replace the SD files with the original AVCHD files and re-render for your BR output (Vegas for instance you can just bring in the .veg files, and redirect the program to the alternative set of files).

SO, there's a few ideas for you to chew on - some workarounds and practical HW considerations. You also didn't mention your editor of choice, that also is part of the equation. The bottom line is if you're patient and can explore alternative workflows, almost anything is possible.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 06:45 PM   #3
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Hi Dave - thanks very much for your response.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Hi Peter...
Output to BluRay in what timeframe?
I'm sorry, but by time frame do you mean when I expect to be doing this, or how long I expect this to take?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
SO, there's a few ideas for you to chew on - some workarounds and practical HW considerations. You also didn't mention your editor of choice, that also is part of the equation. The bottom line is if you're patient and can explore alternative workflows, almost anything is possible.
My editor of choice is Sony Vegas studio 8, unless you're referring to something else I'm not familiar with.

Since posting this I've read about Cineform and it sounds like a very intriguing option. If I understand correctly, Cineform transforms the AVCHD files into a familiar, workable file type and size and allows for final output into the desired formats (bluray, DVD, AVCHD) with minimal, if any, loss of quality of the original. Again, here I'm aware that I'm not a pro and neither are many, if any, of my potential viewers so a slight loss of quality may not be noticeable.

Has anyone had success using Cineform in their workflow with non-quad core laptops as a workaround for editing AVCHD away from home? Any thoughts?

thanks again!
Peter Laurelli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 5th, 2009, 05:17 PM   #4
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For mobility, i recomend Apple MacBook... I have one, and i installed final cut studio and adobe cs4...

My workflow for AVCHD now is like this;

1. By USB i transfer the avchd videos to final cut and make on the fly transcoder to Apple Intermediate codec and i have a smooth and acceptable edit...

2. After finished the edit, i export the timeline to the same codec, (intermediate codec)

3. Open premiere cs4 and create a new avchd sequence... And import natively apple's intermediate codec...

4. Encode using adobe media (in a premiere or solo) to H.264 Blu ray compilant...

5. In adobe encore i burn the discs (without re-transcoding)...

I have also 2 components, 1 is an blu-ray burner external USB 2.0 and a external firewire HD for more room.....

I think for now my workflow is good... I couldnt find a good way to use Apple's Compressor to do a blu-ray compilant...
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